Sunday, May 9, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending May 8, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending May 8, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
2. The Paris Library, by Janet Skeslien Charles
3. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
4. The Secrets of Happiness, by Joan Silber (Register for May 11 event here)
5. The Hill We Climb, by Amanda Gorman
6. Great Circle, by Maggie Shipstead (Register for June 8 event here)
7. Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
8. Raft of Stars, by Andrew J Graff
9. The Five Wounds, by Kirstin Valdez Quade (Register for May 13 event here)
10. Send for Me, by Lauren Fox
11. Early Morning Riser, by Katherine Heiny
12. A Man Named Doll, by Jonathan Ames
13. At the End of the World, Turn Left, by Zhanna Slor (More info about the May 10 event here)
14. The Four Winds, by Kristin Hannah
15. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell

Alas, we are just about out of the free patches that came with initial copies of Project Hail Mary, the new novel from Andy Weir. From The New York Times Alexandra Alter profile: "Weir has made a name for himself among hard-core sci-fi fans for his dizzyingly detailed explanations of the quantum physics, chemistry, engineering, aerodynamics and rocket science underpinning the plots in his novels. When he was writing his blockbuster debut, The Martian, he built software to calculate the constant thrust trajectories for a spaceship’s ion engine, studied NASA satellite images to map out his astronaut character’s 3,200-plus-kilometer course across Mars, and gave a detailed formula for how to make water out of oxygen and hydrazine."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner
2. Premonition, by Michael Lewis
3. Frank Lloyd Wright's Forgotten House, by Nicholas D. Hayes (Register for May 17 event here)
4. Finding the Mother Tree, by Suzanne Simard
5. The Bomber Mafia, by Malcolm Gladwell
6. Persist, by Elizabeth Warren
7. What It's Like to Be a Bird, by David Allen Sibley
8. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, by George Saunders
9. The Secret to Superhuman Strength, by Alison Bechdel
10. World Travel, by Anthony Bourdain and Laura Woolever

Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest, by Suzanne Simard is from the scientist whose work influenced the work of Peter Woleben and Richard Powers. From Eugenia Boone in The Wall Street Journal: "These days I’m drowning in alerts about mushroom hunting, medicinal mushrooms, psychedelic mushrooms, fungi in fashion and fungi as a metaphor for the common good. This last notion derives from predominantly 21st-century research showing that the forest is not merely a collection of trees but a community connected by fungi. The idea has captured the imagination of the public, through movies such as Avatar, books like Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees and the mycologist Paul Stamets’s TED talk, 'Six Ways That Mushrooms Can Save the World,' which has been viewed almost 10 million times. What all of these ideas have in common is research conducted by a shy Canadian forest ecologist named Suzanne Simard, whose doctoral thesis changed the way we understand the woods."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan
2. The Rose Code, by Kate Quinn
3. The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo
4. Foundryside V1: Robert Jackson Bennett
5. Sharks in the Time of Saviors, by Kawai Strong Washburn
6. Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
7. The Drifter V1, by Nick Petrie
8. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, by Deesha Philyaw
9. Complete Stories, by Flannery O'Connor
10. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett

After Milwaukee PBS aired the recent Amy Tan documentary, I was surprised by how many of my fellow Boswellians had seen it - why weren't we all streaming something or other? And then the orders started coming in for The Joy Luck Club, her debut 1989 novel. From Ryan Lattanzio in Indie Wire: "Remember when people read novels? That might seem like an inane statement to those seeking out this review or the story of Amy Tan, but it’s hard to remember the last time a novel dominated the conversation outside the now seemingly narrowed world of people who regularly read fiction. The documentary Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir waxes nostalgic for that time, immersing us in the author’s meteoric success with The Joy Luck Club in 1989 as a blockbuster work of fiction, while also showing how that level of success and her self-informed pressure to deliver a massive followup, plagued her on a personal level.".

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Living Buddha, Living Christ, by Thich Nhat Hanh
2. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
3. Classic Restaurants of Milwaukee, by Jennifer Billock
4. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson
5. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
6. New York Times Cooking No Recipe Recipes, by Sam Sifton
7. Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari
8. Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee, by Thomas H Fehring
9. Best Hikes Milwaukee, by Kevin Revolinski
10. Minor Feelings, by Cathy Park Hong

We've heard this is going to be a summer of road trips and outdoor activities, so it's no surprise that Kevin Revolinski's Best Hikes Milwaukee made the top 10 this week. Revolinski has written numerous collections about hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities for Wisconsin and Michigan, and he's also a fiction writer. His story collection, Stealing Away, came out earlier this year and it has blurbs from Nickolas Butler and J. Ryan Stradal.

Books for Kids:
1. The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint Exupery
2. La Linea, by Ann Jaramillo
3. Butterflies Belong Here, by Deborah Hopkinson
4. Firekeeper's Daughter, by Angeline Boulley
5. Concrete Rose, by Angie Thomas
6. Peace, by Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul
7. Children Just Like Me, from DK Publishing
8. We Are Water Protectors, by Carole Lindstrom and Michael Goade
9. Golden Gate V2 City Spies, by James Ponti
10. Heartstopper V3, by Alice Oseman

Okay, the next time that someone comes in telling me how much they like Rainbow Rowell, I should probably make sure they know about Alice Oseman, a British novelist (graphic and otherwise) whose Heartstopper series (Volume 3 is the latest) is a queer romance featuring two minor characters from Oseman's novel Solitaire. It started as a web comic and is now being adapted for a Netflix series, per The Beat: The News Blog of Comics Culture. From Kelley Gile in School Library Journal, on volume 1: "Realistic yet uplifting, this tale of self-discovery will make readers' hearts skip a beat as they root for Charlie and Nick."

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